Sermon #44 Luke Sermons

 

Title: A Woman Who Was A Sinner

Text: Luke 7:36-50

Subject: Lessons from the Pharisee's House

Date: Sunday Evening -- March 4, 2001

Tape # W-28b

Readings: Office: Bob Duff Auditorium: Merle Hart

Introduction:

 

[Luke 7:36-50] "And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee's house, and sat down to meat. [37] And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, [38] And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. [39] Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner. [40] And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on. [41] There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. [42] And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? [43] Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged. [44] And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. [45] Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. [46] My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. [47] Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. [48] And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. [49] And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also? [50] And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace."

 

It would not be possible for us to conceive of two people more completely opposite to one another than Simon the Pharisee and this woman who was a sinner. Without question, there are many good, profitable lessons which may be gleaned from this passage of Scripture. We would be wise to lay them to heart. May God the Holy Spirit, who caused these words to be written, write the lessons of this passage on our hearts.

 

1.     Many, like this proud Pharisee, have a form of godliness who know nothing of God's saving grace in Christ.

 

Simon showed much outward respect for the Lord Jesus and his disciples. What could be more respectful? -- He had a large, extravagant dinner party in honor of our Savior. Yet, he was utterly ignorant of Christ, his gospel, and the grace of God. He had a form of godliness, but knew nothing of God's saving power and grace. His proud heart was repulsed by the sight of this unnamed woman, who was a notorious sinner, entering his house and being so readily and openly received by the Son of God. He, like most religious people, talked about grace and forgiveness, but never experienced it. This proud Pharisee could not stomach the idea that he must enter into the kingdom of heaven upon the same ground and side by side with this wretched sinner. He was religious, but lost. He knew his doctrine, but not God. He was respectable, but not gracious. Do not be satisfied with religion. We must have Christ!

 

2.     Sin has made us all debtors, owing a debt we can never pay.

 

By reason of our sin, we are all head over heels in debt to the law and justice of God. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, our great Savior stepped in, paid our debt; and God for Christ's sake has freely and fully forgiven us our debt!

 

        The forgiveness of sins is an act of strict, unbending justice.

        Yet, in our experience of it, it is a matter of absolute freeness, an act of grace, pure, free grace.

 

3.     The great mainspring and driving force of service to Christ is that love and gratitude which arises from a sense of great forgiveness.

 

This third lesson will be our primary point of focus tonight. How I wish I could drive this point home to the hearts of all who attempt to rouse men and women up to live for and serve Christ. The mainspring and driving force of true Christianity, -- the motive and inspiration for all devotion and service to Christ, -- that which compels and constrains believers to live in this world for the glory of God is grace experienced, forgiveness known and felt in the very soul of a man, and the deep gratitude to and love for Christ which arises from the experience of God's free, sovereign, saving grace in Christ.

 

Proposition: Believers are motivated by grace, gratitude, and love, not by the threat of law, the promise of reward, or the hope of recognition.

 

[2 Corinthians 5:14-15] "For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: [15] And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again."

 

[2 Corinthians 8:9] "For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich."

 

Tonight, I want us to look at this woman who was a sinner, this woman who is here held before us in the Book of God as an example for all who would honor Christ to follow. I have four questions which I want to put before you. I will show you the answers to these questions, and send you home, asking God the Holy Spirit to apply the things here recorded to your heart and life and to my own.

 

I.                   Who was this woman?

 

Wisely and graciously, the Holy Spirit tells us absolutely nothing about this woman except these things.

 

A.   She was a sinner. -- "Behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner" (v. 37).

B.    She was a believing sinner.

C.   She was a forgiven sinner.

D.   She was a grateful sinner.

E.    She was a sinner who loved Christ much.

 

II.                What did this woman do?

 

[Luke 7:37] "And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment,"

 

[Luke 7:38] "And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment."

 

A.   She made it her business to know where the Savior was and came to him there.

B.    She brought with her an alabaster box of ointment. -- She came with a sacrifice of faith and honor.

C.   She stood at the Savior's feet, behind him. -- Humiliation.

D.   She wept. -- Gratitude and Sorrow.

E.    She washed his feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. -- Common Courtesy and Service.

F.    She kissed the Savior's feet. -- Tender Love, Devotion, and Adoration.

G.   She anointed his feet. -- Anointed him for his Burial.

H.   She did what she could, just for Christ.

 

[Mark 14:3-9] "And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head. [4] And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made? [5] For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her. [6] And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me. [7] For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always. [8] She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying. [9] Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her."

 

III.             What was her motive?

 

Why did this woman do what she did? How can such an act be explained? What would inspire a poor person to make such a great, extravagant (in the eyes of men) sacrifice?

 

A.   She had owed much.

B.    She had been forgiven much.

C.   She loved much.

 

IV.            What was the result of this woman's love for Christ and her devotion and service to him?

 

A.   She was scorned by Simon the Pharisee, ridiculed by Judas, and misunderstood by her fellow disciples. -- Few there are who understand devotion, whole-hearted devotion to Christ.

 

B.    But she had come to Simon's house not to be honored but to honor God her Savior; and honoring him, she was honored by him.

 

[1 Samuel 2:30] "Wherefore the LORD God of Israel saith, I said indeed that thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before me for ever: but now the LORD saith, Be it far from me; for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed."

 

1.     The Son of God came to her defense (v. 47; Mark 14:6).

 

[Luke 7:47] "Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little."

 

[Mark 14:6] "And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me."

 

2.     The Master assured her, before her judges and slanderers, that he had forgiven her of all her sins. -- "Thy sins are forgiven" (v. 48).

 

3.     Her Savior assured her of her faith and spoke peace to her heart (v. 50).

 

[Luke 7:50] "And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace."

 

Application:

 

1.     The only way to inspire consecration and devotion to Christ is to preach Christ. -- The only way to promote good works is to preach free grace.

 

[Titus 3:4-9] "But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, [5] Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; [6] Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; [7] That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. [8] This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men. [9] But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain."

 

J. C. Ryle wrote, "The heart which has experienced the pardoning love of Christ, is the heart which loves Christ and strives to glorify him."

 

[1 John 4:19] "We love him, because he first loved us."

 

2.     The Lord Jesus Christ is a great Savior, merciful, gracious, compassionate, and ready to save the very chief of sinners.

 

3. What motivates you? -- What motivates me?